Zimbabwe stuck with Mugabe

Pension: Mugabe only resigned after agreement that he could stay in Zimbabwe and not face prosecution

24 November 2017 - 07:28 By Reuters
Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. File photo.
Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. File photo.
Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe was granted immunity from prosecution and assured that his safety would be protected as part of a deal that led to his resignation, sources said yesterday.

Mugabe, who had led Zimbabwe from independence in 1980, stepped down on Tuesday after the army seized power and the ruling party turned against him.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice-president sacked by Mugabe, is to be sworn in as president on Friday.

A government source said Mugabe, 93, told negotiators he wanted to die in Zimbabwe and had no plans to live in exile.

"It was very emotional for him and he was forceful about it," said the source.

"For him it was important that he be guaranteed security to stay in the country."

His downfall after 37 years in power was triggered by a battle to succeed him that pitted Mnangagwa against Mugabe's much younger wife, Grace.

"The outgoing president is obviously aware of the public hostility to his wife. It became necessary to also assure him that his whole family, including the wife, would be secure," another source said.

Mugabe will receive a pension, housing, holiday and transport allowance, health insurance, limited air travel and security.

The ageing former president was "drained" by events of the past week and may travel to Singapore for medical check-ups.

He had been due to leave for Singapore this month before the military put him under house arrest.

Mugabe has maintained that he leads a frugal life and that he does not possess any wealth or properties outside Zimbabwe.

But last month a legal quarrel between Grace and a Belgian businessman over a $1.3- million (about R18-million) diamond ring lifted a veil on the wealthy lifestyle of Mugabe and his wife, nicknamed "Gucci Grace" for her reputed dedication to shopping.

In Zimbabwe, Mugabe runs a dairy while media have reported that Grace has bought properties and cars in South Africa.